Time­line charts his­tory of com­put­ing

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JOE DAW­SON

A new dis­play charts the his­tory of com­put­ing, from the gi­ant room-sized ma­chines of old to the cur­rent pocket-sized ver­sions.

The time­line takes up a huge wall in the Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land’s com­puter science depart­ment and be­gins with the hum­ble aba­cus. It is open to the pub­lic to view.

‘‘It starts at the very be­gin­ning with things that came be­fore com­put­ers,’’ re­tired pro­fes­sor Bob Do­ran says.

‘‘It’s the whole his­tory, from punch cards, math­e­mat­i­cal logic and elec- tron­ics up un­til they be­come com­mer­cial prod­ucts from the 1950s.’’

Dr Do­ran man­aged the cre­ation of the dis­play, which re­places an ear­lier ver­sion re­moved as part of build­ing work at the uni­ver­sity.

Also on dis­play in the foy­ers of the com­puter science build­ing is a col­lec­tion of hard­ware, com­put­ing books, games, posters and pack­ag­ing from across the ages.

‘‘Our depart­ment al­ways had lots of stuff given to us, things peo­ple couldn’t bear to give away. We have five floors of stuff.

‘‘It’s a walk down mem­ory lane for older peo­ple, and even younger ones be­cause what they re­gard as his­tory isn’t very old at all.’’

The ma­te­rial charts New Zealand’s com­put­ing his­tory and men­tions events like the build­ing of the Har­bour Bridge to give per­spec­tive.

Dr Do­ran says the ad­vances made in the 1980s were es­pe­cially sig­nif­i­cant.

‘‘It was a heady time for nerds.’’

The time­line is on the ground floor of the Science Build­ing on Princes St and is open to the pub­lic dur­ing busi­ness hours.

Photo: JOE DAW­SON

Com­put­ing fo­cus: Bob Do­ran com­pares to­day’s tech­nol­ogy with that of times gone by.

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